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Hard Drive Failier????

Posted on 2005-03-04
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I’m fixing my uncles computer, which has a freezing problem during boot.

Its usually worse when starting from cold. As XP loads, there's a click from inside, and the sound of the hard drive spinning down then backup again. Windows freezes and has to be buttoned each time. This continues, each time getting a little further into the boot. When XP finally loads, all is well.

I initially though it could be a virus. This system has been plagued with them in the past. So last night I reformatted the HD and re-installed XP. All worked fine and I thought I had cured the problem, until I started playing with the BIOS.

I loaded the optimum setting from the BIOS and the problem returned straight away. As soon as I reloaded the basic BIOS settings the problem went away, and the system ran fine, until this morning!!!

As soon as the machine is started from cold, during the boot sequence, the hard drive powers down and then immediately spins back up, even with the basic default BIOS settings. Each time the machine freezes and has to be reset. This happens a few times and then all seems fine.
 
I thought that maybe it was a PSU load problem. I disconnected the CD drives, but to no avail.

Any suggestions?
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Question by:cwhitby
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15 Comments
 
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

by:LucF
LucF earned 100 total points
ID: 13458474
Hi cwhitby,

>>and the sound of the hard drive spinning down then backup again<<
Definately sounds like a troubling harddisk to me...
Just try another one (maybe you have a known good old one laying around to test with)

Greetings,

LucF
0
 
LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 100 total points
ID: 13458528
Is your Hard Drive Dead?

Can it be seen in BIOS? (If it can it might still be beyond repair)

See if the BIOS has the S.M.A.R.T hard drive function, if its on turn it off, if its off turn it on.

Is there any other device on the same IDE controller/ (look on the ribbon cable that connect it to the motherboard) If There is disconnect any other devices to see if it works.

Try connecting it to another IDE controller; most motherboards have two IDE controllers swap the end of the ribbon cable to the other IDE socket on the motherboard.

Try the Hard Drive in another PC

Still no joy?

If this fails you may want to completely flatten the drive and remove all info, if so use one of these


Wipe Out http://www.lurkhere.com/~nicefiles/
KILLDISK http://www.killdisk.com/

Still no joy?

Make a decision, you can..

1. Loose all the information on the drive and try to repartition/format or low level format it (This will require software from the HDD manufacturer)


Still no joy?

Accept that (unfortunately) mechanical things break, I sympathise I’ve been there myself.
0
 
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 13458530
Hard Drive Diagnostics

*****Vendor Specific Support/Diagnostics*****

Maxtor/Quantum (Fireball) http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm
Western Digital http://support.wdc.com/download/
Samsung http://www.samsungelectronics.com/hdd/support/utilities/utilities_index.html
Seagate http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html
IBM/Hitachi http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT
fujitsu/Seimens http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic

If you do not know the drive manufacturer try some generic drive testers

*****FREE*****

ZDU http://www.webattack.com/get/zdu.shtml
Zdu is a diagnostic utility for disks & directories. It comes as a GUI version as well as a command line only version (both included).

Everest Home Edition http://www.lavalys.com/products/download.php?dlid=1&lang=en
An easy to use report wizard allows you to create detailed reports in the format of your choice

*****TRIALWARE*****

DiskChecker http://www.webattack.com/get/diskchecker.shtml
Disk Checker is a disk diagnostics, repair and disk image tool for FAT and NTFS.

Drive Health http://www.webattack.com/get/drivehealth.gif.shtml
Drive Health helps you to estimate your hard disks life resource. It allows you to predict possible hard drive failure
0
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:Steviek411
Steviek411 earned 100 total points
ID: 13459152
Is you computer fully compatible with your operating system? Check with your motherboard maker and see if there are any issues with it or if there are any updates. Also check your RAM if possible.
0
 
LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:wlandymore
wlandymore earned 100 total points
ID: 13459193
I would use something like CheckIt to scan all of the hardware on the box to see if there is something wrong there.

http://www.checkit.com

This should test the RAM, HD's, etc, etc....just takes a while but it should give you a full read-out of each component and whether it passed or failed.
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:onedeej
ID: 13460094
I have a drive that did that to me before, the logic board went on it, I am looking for the exact drive to replace the board to recover my data, your issue could also be your motherboard sending signal fluctuations through the IDE interface, but that is very unlikely, as you would have other symptoms too.
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13460134
This is for onedeej, not the original poster:  It's not a given that you can swap logic boards between drives, even between drives of the exact same model.  EEPROMs on the logic board may have data on them (programmed at the factory) which is specific to the platters on that particular drive (defect maps, for example).
0
 
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

by:
rid earned 400 total points
ID: 13460250
Sounds like the hard drive is bad or that there is a bad connection in the power connector to the HD.
/RID
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:onedeej
ID: 13460386
Watzman,
When you are facing a choice between wasting another $60 and losing some important things on your drive (childrens Pictures, etc), would it not be wise to spend the money?
0
 
LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:Watzman
Watzman earned 100 total points
ID: 13460798
onedeej, as a last resort, I'd try it, it may not work but probably won't do any harm.  However, where are your backups?  You know, the lesson that people never seem to learn:  Everything stored on a PC can vanish instantly with no warning.
0
 
LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:onedeej
onedeej earned 100 total points
ID: 13461912
My backups have been attacked by my 3 year old, I havent re-backed anything yet, but I am fairly confident I can get everything off the drive as there were never any bad sectors reported by any utility I used to test it with. I know all to well about my clients losing data by doing things like stating "I dont need a burner to back things up, It is afterall a new computer" then they do something dumb like spill water on it, oops! I need to go out and get me a fireproof safe to keep my kids out of my comp stuff, I have no space to designate off limits for them as I live in an apartment.

PS. If I came off rude the last post, please accept my apologies.
0
 

Author Comment

by:cwhitby
ID: 13484469
Thanks for all of your input guys. It turned out to be the PSU. Looks as though there was an intermittent supply failier when cold, as soon as it warmed up a little and thing expanded, it was fine.

A new PSU sorted it out.

I've split the points but rid was the closest.

Cheers :)
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13486664
I would rather you not have given me any points than split this the way that you did with a grade of "C", the lowest possible grade.
0
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 13486735
In this case I think it's OK with a C grade as it was a power supply problem and nobody suggested that explicitly. The alternative for the author is to ask for a refund as it is debatable whether we succeeded in actually solving the problem.. My opinion...
/RID
0
 
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 13487651
No Objections - though you would have been better asking for a refund :)
0

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